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Oswego passes expansion of tax exemption eligibility for Senior Citizens in Oswego

Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow proposed, and the Oswego Common Council voted to update and expand several tax exemptions for Oswego residents 65 years old and older, likely living on fixed incomes.  The approval raises the income threshold for seniors to be eligible for an exemption from City property taxes, along with water bills from a $25,000 cap to a $30,500 cap, an alteration he says is long overdue.  Mayor Barlow also asked, and received, approval for two new tax exemptions to City residents.  Similar to the exemption for low income seniors, Barlow wants to add a veteran’s exemption for those who served during the Cold War and an exemption for Gold Star Parents, Mothers and Fathers who lost sons or daughters in the United States Armed Forces. 

"Offering financial relief to our senior citizens living on limited incomes is simply the right thing to do.  We have worked hard to improve the financial position of the City over the last three years so that we could offer relief in the form of lower taxes and expanded exemptions to our residents," Mayor Barlow said.  "We've significantly reduced overtime expenses City-wide, found efficiencies to cut operating costs and streamlined government. Now that we are realizing the savings, we can ease the financial burden on our residents and senior citizens with limited incomes should be the first to feel the financial relief," Barlow continued. “It is also an honor to pass a tax exemption offering a tax break to our Cold War Veterans who served our Country along with our Gold Star Mothers.  Honoring the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice while fighting for our Country, and their families, is very important. Offering this tax exemption is the least we can do to show our appreciation,” Barlow concluded.

President of the Oswego Common Council, Robert Corradino fully supported updating the income limits and thresholds and praised the idea of implementing an exemption for Cold War Veterans and Gold Star Mothers in the community.  “This initiative to update the income guidelines for our city residents is long over due and I was proud to support it. It has been over 2 decades since this exemption was updated and it is the right thing to do immediately for the people who use this program,” said Corradino. 

The Veterans of the Cold War exemption will allow for a 15% exemption of the assessed value of the property, not to exceed $12,000. The Gold Start Parents exemption ranges between a 15%-25% exemption depending on the time period in which they served and the medals received. The Senior Citizen exemption set forth by local law was last adjusted in 1995 and Barlow says the income thresholds are so outdated most seniors did not fall within the income thresholds allowing them to be eligible for the exemption.  

Senior Citizen Exemption

Existing                                                         Proposed

Annual Income   % exempt                        Annual Income   % exempt

$17,500 or less       50%                                $22,500 or less        50%
$17,500-$18,500    45%                                $22,501-$23,500     45%
$18,501-$19,500    40%                                $23,501-$24,500     40%
$19,501-$20,500    35%                                $24,501-$25,500     35%
$20,501-$21,400    30%                                $25,501-$26,500     30%
$21,401-$22,300    25%                                $26,501-$27,500     25%
$22,301-$23,200    20%                                $27,501-$28,500     20%
$23,201-$24,100    15%                                $28,501-$29,500     15%
$24,101-$25,000    10%                                $29,501-$30,500     10%

Mayor Barlow stressed to the Council and to the public in attendance the need to promote the new exemptions and the expansion of the senior citizen exemption.  Senior Citizens already in the exemption will receive an automatic renewal, however, the expansion will include more Seniors who need to enroll either in person or by phone at the City of Oswego assessor’s office on the third floor of City Hall. 

                                                              

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